Not a day goes by without somebody complaining about teenagers being glued to their phones, video games and other tech devices.
But, take a look around, it's not just teenagers who are obsessed with their devices. Adults can be just as guilty of not paying attention to the world around them because their eyes are on their phones, or they cozied up on their couch binge-watching shows on their favorite streaming service. There's no doubt, we could all use time away from the world's modern conveniences to enjoy some good old-fashioned fun.
This week, Assistant Editor Teresa Hoffman and reporter Daniel Buhrman share what modern convenience they would give up for a week.
Hoffman: It's time to hit pause on the remote control
My idea of a modern convenience may be a little different than Daniel's, given our age difference, something that was pointed out to me by our Sports Editor Grant Egger who laughed when I said, jokingly, I would give up using my microwave for a week. Sure, it may not be "modern," in the eyes of a 20- or 30-year old, but it is a convenience nonetheless.
So, I regrouped and thought about how I spend my week. Monday through Friday (and sometimes on the weekend) I get in my car, drive to work, type stories on my computer, post items to our website, Facebook and Twitter, where I also keep up on the news of the day.
Because my landlord likes to get a rent check from me each month, I can't give up my car or computer and I doubt our Managing Editor Leeanna Ellis would give me a pass on posting stories to Facebook and Twitter, so giving up social media is out. I guess I could give up using social media once I get home, but if I can't give it up 100 percent, then why bother?
Technically, I could give up my phone and still do my job posting to social media, but, honestly, that's not going to happen.
So, I guess that means I'll give up television, specifically the plethora of streaming services or apps available to me at the push of a button. Next to taking afternoon naps, binge watching is one of my favorite activities when I have downtime.
It's one of the reasons I have trouble committing to the latest popular show on a streaming service because I know that nothing will get done. So much so that many weeks, especially on weekdays, I find myself rewatching some of my favorite shows because I won't be tempted to stay up all night to find out what happens on the next episode because I already know what's going to happen.
Watching television is an activity that has always brought our family together. When I wasn't running around the neighborhood with my friends, my dad and I would sit and watch a show, sporting event or the news. Some of our favorites shows were from the 1950s and 1960s, shows like "I Love Lucy," "The Donna Reed Show" and "The Waltons." But, we equally enjoyed news programs and watching the political conventions every four years, which led to great conversations and history lessons I still think about today.
These days, though few and far between, spending quality time with my siblings, nieces and nephews laughing at our favorite television show, strategizing along with contestants on a reality TV competition show and cheering on our favorite sports teams is an activity I enjoy. As I experienced with my late father, some of the best conversations I've had and lessons I've shared and learned have come while watching television with family members.
It's not the only thing we do, but watching television together as a family is an activity I enjoy because, for at least a few hours, we are together.
But, I guess for a week, I could give up my remote control to read a book or participate in an outdoor family activity. But, don't think I'll be putting my phone down, because, well, if I'm going to be having fun outdoors, I have to take photos. My camera is one modern convenience I refuse to give up.
Buhrman: Service dropped
If I have to dump a new-fangled contraption for a week, it has to be my phone.
Sure it connects me to my friends, keeps me up to date with the world and helps me out some with my job here at the Enterprise, but it does become quite distracting.
I don't think I've gone an hour since I've gotten a smartphone without some social media notification telling me about "likes," some news headline popping up or text asking me to go out and do something.
Sometimes I don't want to do things. Sometimes I just want to sit and read a book, and it's hard to get invested into a story when you're phones constantly buzzing.
To be fair, phones can be set to "silent," which mine is often. But when it's right there in my pocket, I feel the need to check it because, as mentioned, maybe there's something demanding my attention. Is this what they mean by viscous cycle? I feel like I just got back to the start of my argument. Cursed phone.
Now I'm just thinking of all the extra time I would have on my hands if I didn't have it for a week. Books, as mentioned, I could read. I could catch up on some TV shows, which I know is another modern convenience, but I feel like I'm more likely to attend to worthwhile, artistic shows and movies than the kind of drudge social media gives me to wade through.
I might actually go out with my friends more if I didn't have my phone. There's less pressure without it. A catch-22 that I mentioned before when I get the text to go out then don't want to. Without feeling obligated maybe I'd reach out to them. But without my phone, I'd be forced to walk or drive to them. I'm already out of the house more without my phone, wow!
Above all, I think I'd have a bit more time for self-reflection without my phone. I could just sit and think, maybe find a hill and watch the sunset somewhere while doing so. I think everyone needs some self-reflection sometimes, which can help us personally, with others or even at our jobs.
I had something else to say, but I forgot because I got a text. Maybe I should actually try this no phone thing out.